Shelbourne enjoyed a successful return to the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division as they defeated Cork City at Turner's Cross.

A typical poacher’s finish from Ciarán Kilduff with just three minutes remaining proved to be the difference as Shels opened with a win against their old rivals.

Cork boss Neale Fenn named eight debutants in his starting side with Gearoid Morrissey, Ronan Hurley and Dáire O’Connor the only players who didn’t join the club in the winter break.

But his new-look team almost fell behind inside the opening minutes as Shelbourne's Dayle Rooney got in behind right-back Kyron Stabana but he could only drill his shot wide of the bottom left corner.

Dylan McGlade tackles Shelbourne's Karl Sheppard

City went close to scoring themselves in the fourth minute as Stabana – on loan from AFC Wimbledon – picked out Cian Coleman in the box but the midfielder could only direct his header over the bar.

The home side were in charge of possession with Henry Ochieng pulling the strings in the centre of the park but it was the First Division champions that created the better goal-scoring chances.

They threatened again just past the quarter-hour mark but Karl Sheppard – on his first return to the Cross since leaving during the winter break- saw his powerful strike inside the area blocked by Ronan Hurley and then gathered by goalkeeper Liam Bossin.

Dáire O’Connor surged through the Dubs’ midfield midway the half but after his clever pass released Stabana, the new No 17 overhit his cross with Reyon Dillon waiting in front of goal.

The visitors ought to have punished Cork for not producing more in the final third shortly before the half-time break but Ryan Brennan headed Rooney’s superb delivery against the back post and then nodded over from a corner.

Rooney was inches away from breaking the deadlock in spectacular style just after the restart but his curling free-kick drifted narrowly wide of the top right corner, to the relief of the majority of the impressive 3,961 crowd in attendance.

McGlade's shot is blocked by Aidan Friel

The Leesiders needed Bossin to be at his best just past the hour and he stood tall to deny Kilduff when the frontman was bearing down on the target.

City introduced Deshane Dalling for his debut and also youngster Beineón O’Brien Whitmarsh as they looked to create more chances.

Dalling had penalty appeals waved away not long before captain Gearóid Morrissey dragged an ambitious effort from distance wide of the left upright.

Joseph Olowu – on loan from Arsenal – could have won it for City with 10 minutes remaining but he headed wide of the bottom left corner from close range.

Ryan Brennan (left) and Cian Coleman battle for possession

And that miss would prove costly as Shelbourne won it in the closing stages when Kilduff headed into the back of the Shed End net from a yard after the ball had initially struck the crossbar.

A promising display from City but ultimately a disappointing result ahead of trips to Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers next weekend.

Cork City: Bossin; Stabana, Olowu, Redmond, Hurley; Ochieng (Byrne 87), Morrissey, Coleman; O’Connor, Dillon (O’Brien-Whitmarsh 70), McGlade (Dalling 60).

Shelbourne: Brady; Friel, O’Reilly, Byrne, O’Hanlon; Deegan, Quinn, Rooney; Sheppard, Kilduff, Brennan (Farrell 56).

Referee: Adriano Reale (Kildare).